NàRoma Pizza Bar
When we see papered up windows we get excited. So much so that our curiosity gets the best of us, and we'll look for ways to peak inside buildings to see what new developments are happening in the neighbourhood. It just so happened that when we were trying to sneak a peak in what would become NàRoma Pizza Bar, the owner, Mario Spina, was inside (and likely thinking we were a bit crazy). He opened the door and invited us in to have a look at the renovations. So make note, if you see us creeping don't be alarmed. NàRoma has been open for about nine months now and its one of our regular spots. There is something really authentic about the atmosphere. You'll see family and friends drop by to say a quick hello and have an espresso. "We want our customers to feel at home," says Mario. In between making pizzas the staff plays intense games of chess. It's so welcoming that you'll want to spend a whole afternoon there. And that's exactly what we did on this snowy day.
The building had been a vacant house for seven years, before Mario took it over, restored the exterior architecture and renovated the interior to house his pizza shop. "I have been in love with Locke Street and the community for ten years, " enthuses Mario, "I wanted to reveal my concept five years ago but I needed time to bring it to life."
Using slow, time-honoured methods, Mario makes authentic Italian pizza. And its a very labour intensive process. "The dough process is a 72 hour rising method," explains Mario, "The secret is time." He uses very little yeast, and tell us that less yeast means more flavour. The dough is kneaded repeatedly by hand, allowed to relax and rise for a minimum of 72 hours before it’s ready for the oven. All of his produce is purchased fresh from the Hamilton Farmer's Market. The meats and flour are imported from Italy.
So what pizza should you try? We recommend the Patata Dolce, a combination of mozzarella and goat cheese with sweet potato, sage and maple syrup. Stephanie's favourite is the brie e prosciutto -- a blend of mozzarella, triple cream brie cheese, prosciutto, fig jam, caramelized onions, arugula and reduced balsamic. We ask Mario what his favourite pizza is and he says, "The Margherita. It reflects the natural taste of the dough and the sauce."
And don't miss the made-from-scratch daily soups, especially the stracciatella, an Italian egg-drop soup.
NàRoma offers a unique selection of wines. Camporsino's Chianti goes well with oil based pizzas. The Moltepucliano D'Abruzzo from Italy best compliments a vegetarian pizza and the Pinot Grigio from East Dell Estates pairs well with the salads and soups.
Our friend Josh just joined the NàRoma team. It's no question he makes the best espresso and all things coffee in the city. Josh and Mario are are busy revamping the staff uniform. They are following the cue of those Euro men jazzing up their look with bright coloured trousers. We dig it.
Below, that's the homemade cannoli. We had way too many of them. It's a must have when you visit NàRoma.
Mario is planning for a 24 seat patio this summer which we are eagerly awaiting. His delivery service is so popular that people just a couple blocks over call to order pizza. With all this success, plans for two more possible locations are in the works. So stay tuned..
215 Locke Street South